It all started out rather innocently as a story about a local business woman who was designing a line of luxury lingerie against all odds. She couldn’t find someone who’d make her small collection so she decided to open her own factory, hire a bunch of people and recruit some executives to relocate to the Midwest.
I thought it was inspiring. Then things got weird. Midway through writing the story, the entrepreneur became impossible to contact (no returned phone calls from her cell or business numbers, no returned emails). I feared that the story was going to be a bust. Then after a visit to her factory (about 20 miles away) and some visual reassurance, I soldiered on.
But the company bizarrely refused to cooperate with any requests for information, updates, photos.
Then the story of a woman making lingerie for women made by women in a sleepy neighborhood with declining manufacturing jobs suddenly became the symbol of all that’s wrong in the world. Readers called, emailed and sent me social media messages to explain that my story was disgusting and vulgar and I should find other things to do with my time. I mean, I seemed like such a nice girl.
So the story, the owner didn’t want me to write suddenly became the story the public didn’t want to read. So I got back to the keyboard and wrote a column about my outrage at the outrage of people who don’t like looking at a girl in lingerie in their Sunday newspaper. I’d argue that you’ll see much worse at the pool, but whatever.
I started with the line: “We women just can’t seem to get this whole modesty thing right. Thank goodness we have so many rules to help us.” I linked the horrible treatment of Muslim women being forced to uncover on beaches in France to the comments about women needing more clothes on the pages of our paper. And just because I was feeling good and rant-y, I drifted from school dress codes that are largely meant to suppress the expression of young girls (not boys) and the body shaming that abounds for most women.
The response was overwhelmingly supportive except for a few who were really just rude in comically ridiculous ways.